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New solar farm plans after company 'listened to concerns'

Power firm praised as "a case study for how responsible companies can work with communities" after going back to the drawing board with its plans

A power line that would have served a proposed solar farm in Bagwell Lane, Winchfield

A fresh bid to build a solar farm in the countryside looks set to get the backing of villagers.

TGC Renewables wants to build the solar farm, which will generate enough renewable energy to power around 1,600 homes a year, on land to the east of Taplins Farm Lane in Winchfield.

The proposals comprise 12.3 hectares of lower Grade 4 and 3b agricultural land.

TGC Renewables said its proposal would have a positive impact on the environment by continuing to allow farming on the site while also tackling climate change.

The company had considered building a solar farm on a site in Bagwell Lane, Winchfield, but scrapped the idea following negative feedback from a public consultation into the plan early last year.

The new site is well contained and would be screened and the use would not ruin the landscape, according to the firm.

Around 18,500 modules will be mounted on a racking system and the scheme also includes power inverter stations, transformer stations, security fencing, access gates and CCTV security cameras mounted on free-standing support poles.

The proposed photovoltaic panels will be a maximum of three metres above ground level.

Andrew Renshaw, Winchfield Parish Council chairman, said he did not expect to hear any outcry against the latest proposal.

“The site already has consent for a smaller solar array which met with no opposition,” he added.

“This solar farm will only really be seen by passengers in passing trains.”

'More suitable sites'            

Cllr Renshaw praised TGC for the way it had gone about the application.

“Residents were very angry when the company first came to Winchfield with a solar farm plan for Bagwell Lane.

“That arable field was totally unsuitable and the solar panels would have been a blot on the landscape.

“We knew it would be a battle to stop the scheme going ahead, but we pointed the company in the direction of more suitable sites in Winchfield between the railway line and the M3,” added Cllr Renshaw.

“TGC came back with another consultation about the present site and people were grateful that the company had listened to our concerns.

“It should act as a case study for how responsible companies can work with communities.”

Meanwhile, a power line that would have served the field in Bagwell Lane has recently been taken down.

“SSE realised it was redundant and now the landscape has been improved,” said Cllr Renshaw.

“They have a vast amount of valuable copper from the five miles of wire and we have better views.

“And it has removed any temptation to site solar farms in that area.”

The parish council is also awaiting another solar farm application to be lodged for land at Beggars Corner, where there were plans for a motorcross track.

"In that case, panels will be a lot quieter than motorbikes and I think that will also be welcomed,” said Cllr Renshaw.

Hart District Council is expected to decide the Taplins Farm Lane application by July 25.

 
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